Review by deft_Y2k

Reviewed: 03/10/08

Stuck between dimensions

On the Nintendo 64 era, almost all the 1st party franchise characters had a shot to try out a new console and what they were capable of doing in it. Kirby had his chance in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, but instead of making it a full 3-D game, HAL Laboratories combined 3-D graphics and elements with 2-D game play, an example of this is the Donkey Kong Country series.

In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, you play as Kirby trying to help this fairy-like character called Ribbon, whom escaped from planet Ripple Star, which was attacked by an old enemy of Kirby called Dark Matter. It tried to capture the Great Crystal but fortunately Ribbon escaped with it; unfortunately 3 minions of Dark Matter got to her and shattered the crystal into many pieces. Now it’s your sole duty as a Star-Warrior to recover those pieces throughout many different worlds. Though you’re not alone; you will have assistance from Adeleine the artist; she will help you solve puzzles and occasionally give you items to restore your health. Waddle-Dee and King Dedede will also accompany you in your party and help you get across different levels of the game.

If you have played a Kirby game, new or old, you pretty much will basically know how the game works. You suck your enemies into your mouth and you can either spit them back to attack other enemies or eat them to gain their ability. There are many abilities you can use to your favor. But there’s something new added to the series, you can also combine different powers to make a new one. This will help you get through some stages of the game and even discover some secrets in them. You’ll just have to try different combinations to know which one is the one you will use, some of them just require a bit of thinking and common sense.

There are 6 worlds to visit and complete to beat the game, 7 if you get all the crystals from each of the different stages in the worlds. Each world has 4 stages and a boss battle, expect for the 7th world which is only a stage and a boss battle. In each stage you have to collect 3 crystal shards. Some are pretty easy to find, others are very well hidden or need of a certain ability or a combination of two abilities. Each stage plays like a 2-D adventure game, going from left to right, so you can’t get lost while playing through a stage.

This game stayed true to Kirby’s 2-D origins and game play while adapting 3-D elements to it. The Kirby series has been characterized for having many visual and sometimes colorful aspects and designs; this game is no different from those. The visuals are pretty good for a Nintendo 64 game and the animations are fluid and pretty detailed. For a game that was released two generations ago, it really has not aged that much, in terms of graphics.

Another thing that has characterized the Kirby series and will live up to anyone expectations is the music. Even though many people did not like this game that much, the soundtrack in this game is one of the most acclaimed of all in the series, and maybe of all video game history. In this game you can find from simple happy-go-lucky tracks to music resembling that of an epic RPG. You’ll be hooked to hearing it on every stage and you will not get tired of hearing. The sounds are also typical of any Kirby game, cute and simply adorable. Hearing Kirby say “Hi!” never gets boring, and also the sound effects and voices in the mini games are great.

Aside from the main story mode, you also have 3 mini-games to choose from. These games are play 4 simultaneous players; it can be you and three of your friends playing against each other, or just you against the CPU. The “100-Yard Hop” is a race mini-game that requires you press the ‘A’ and ‘B’ buttons to get to the finish line, there will traps along the way so be careful. “Bumper Crop Bump” requires you to grab more fruit than the other players, the player with most fruit caught wins, just don’t try to catch the bombs though since it will take away points. Last but not least, “Checker Board Chase” is not your regular checkers game. The objective is simple, do not to fall of the board. You’ll move around the board and try to fumble the other players into the void, before they get you.

The controls in this game are pretty simple and easy to use and you will get accustomed to them in no time. The A button is for jumping and floating around. The B button is used for sucking up enemies and spiting them up, this button is also used for any ability you have gained. And you can use either the shoulder buttons or the X/Y buttons to throw or get rid of an ability you already had. Of course you also use either the analog stick or the digital pad to move around and do certain abilities Kirby has, like eating up enemies. In general, any Kirby game has always been pretty easy to pick and play right out of the box and it offers a pretty unique game style nonetheless.

This game is a worthy successor to the Kirby franchise, though not because of the 3-D elements in his game, since basically it plays like a 2-D side-scroll adventure game from the SNES era, but because of the game play mechanics it offered. But not only is the game play fantastic, everything in this game make it a worthy addition to any Nintendo game collection, especially if you’re a Kirby fan. It is even worth just because of the music in it. So if you want to try a mixture of two dimensions with a fantastic and almost epic game play, be sure to give it a try. You will be amazed at how well made this game is, especially the last boss fight with Zero-Two (or 0^2).

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (US, 02/25/08)

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